Hope for Zimbabwe

Ok, so there has been a lot of commotion ~ and rightfully so ~ about Egypt and the brave citizens who won the fight for freedom and got Mubarak to step down. However many in Africa are expecting more revolts like this to come.

I happen to live in one of the countries likely to be next: Zimbabwe. But here’s the thing, Zimbabwe is not Egypt and Mubarak is not Mugabe [the fact that both their names begin with ‘MU’ is probably all they have in common].

Egypt had 3 things going for them during these protests: firstly the eyes of the world were on them because they are seen as an investment-rich country and of course Al Jazeer was amazing throughout! The media kept reporting and found ways around being silenced. As many minerals and natural resources as Zim still have, they are too difficult to access at this point; therefore the world really has no reason to safeguard this country’s economy… Plus the media in this country is weak to say the least. I’m not really blaming the journalists but the government has people watching everywhere and consequences are more than just a stern warning or a broken hard drive. I might sound a tad paranoid but sadly these are the realities of our situation. If you’re wondering why we don’t just use the internet or sites like Twitter, then I need to remind you that Zimbabwe has serious issues with electricity as in: we rarely have it! Plus internet is so slow [not to mention extremely expensive] that most people who can actually afford a computer or even a phone just end up frustrated. Without access to media and a proper grapevine for the citizens of Zimbabwe to communicate, every unified attempt at a protest will be feeble.

Secondly, Egypt had the advantage of having the military and police on their side. In Zimbabwe it is not that clear cut. One of the biggest issues in Zimbabwe at the moment is their lack of self sustainability and fragile agriculture. This is in part due to harsh hot weather and low rainfalls but mostly it is due to the land-redistribution act. You can’t take farms that produce a third of the world’s maize and then just hand them to people who have never planted a seed in their lives, simply because they fought on the ‘right’ side of an old war. You can’t expect crops to just naturally do its thing if no one is actually looking after it. That was a bit long winded but what I’m getting at is: war veterans and friends of the MP’s were given lands that were taken from the country’s farmers. So these war veterans have been on Mugabe’s side all along and have managed to get the military so intertwined with government that it is hard to separate the two. Obviously as the self produced food is getting scarcer and inflation is going through the roof, the war veterans are regretting their choice. But not the ones high up because they are part of the government infrastructure and therefore getting cuts of the benefits. And even in the younger ranks you can see that these officers still have a sense of pride [there is nothing more powerful than African pride, not even Zimbo Hope] when guarding their president. Mugabe doesn’t even need to brainwash them, years of culture has done it for him. The military is too invested in Mugabe to allow any form of an uprising. Besides, a lot of those military hot shots will be held accountable for humanitarian crimes that were committed with their knowledge and by Mugabe’s government over the last few decades. They cannot risk someone else coming into power and messing with the lives they’ve built, so in the event of a revolution, they don’t really have an incentive to choose the people of their country.

The third thing is probably the most amazing reason why Egypt managed to pull together: a Tunisian guy named Mohammed Buoazizi [most people attribute the start of this African Revolt to his actions]. He set himself alight! Yes, he chose one of the most horrifying paths to death because he could not stand the circumstances he was faced with. He will go down in Egyptian [and African] history as a martyr. Don’t misunderstand me, I am in no way what so ever condoning suicide or suggesting that anyone take their own life in order to make a statement! Especially not in Zimbabwe. To be honest, if anyone comes to hear of someone doing the same in Zim, they probably wouldn’t believe it. If by chance they do believe it, most will label them a fool and be annoyed because now there is one less vote in the struggle. See, Zimbos are known for their unflinching hope and doing something like that would indicate that you have given up hope and defecate all that Zimbabweans hold dear. So how do you instantly get the world to pay attention? How do you pull at the heart strings of a nation and bound them in unity? Well, I don’t know… If I did, I would have done it by now.

I’m sorry if I sound like a pessimist, I really am not, ask anyone. I just don’t think it’s fair to assume that what worked for one people will work for another… it’s not that black and white. Life is more complicated than that and politics in Africa is a dangerous business. I don’t want to get into the violence and intimidation that have been taking place throughout Zimbabwe lately ~ I’ll leave that to the news ~ but there is a saying that goes: peaceful waters; deep laid grounds. Zimbabwe is a gorgeous country and all of its nature could easily fool you into thinking that all is right with the world. The birds merrily chirping, however, are not enough to mask the cries of pain from the voiceless people.

So how do we bring about a choice for Zimbabwe? Well if there are any real leaders, not just power hungry dictators who would like to be president: PLEASE speak up! For the rest of us here in Zim, don’t lose hope because that is the one thing they can only take if we are willing to part with it! Everyone else: keep us in your thoughts and if at any point during your day you get the opportunity [no matter how faint] to mention Zimbabwe, please do so! Please don’t be fooled by reports that all are fine and dandy, because it is not; it has not been for quite a while.

Keep us fresh in your minds and don’t forget that we are still not free… not free to choose and not free to stand up and be proud.

Please,

AM

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2 Comments »

  1. shonatiger Said:

    Very thoughtful post, thank you for speaking out! It’s important for the world to understand that you can’t transfer a revolution- no such thing as a cut-and-paste revolution (or solution), especially in Africa.

  2. peace Said:

    whew! Thats Some stuff u just wrote there. I agree with u. Such a protest in zim will leave thousands dead as u know the armed forces realy dont care were their bullets and button sticks hit. And it will also be the end of the hope that u just spoke of coz then the opposition leaders will be hanged.
    Wish they were at least a few more like u, knocking some sense into our heads.
    If u ask me AM, I wld say zimbos need to wait, i mean how long do u think u-know-who still has, so patience dear.coz with him gone, so is thd party as well .
    Nice wright here, tried to click like bt i got to register first, i gues u know wat that means, tarrifs are high. Lets just hope the world remembrz us.. Peace


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